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Chemical leak kills eight people, injures three in China

14 June 2021

A toxic chemical leak at a factory in the Guizhou province of China killed eight people and injured three others on June 12. The incident occurred as workers unloaded a shipment of methyl formate at the chemical handling plant, local news reported.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

Methyl formate is used in several different chemical processes as well as an insecticide. The incident happened in the city of Guiyang in the southwest of China. Local authorities said that the cause of the leak is unknown and that an investigation has been opened.

Chemical industry accidents are fairly common in China with many companies failing to adhere to safety guidelines in favour of pursuing rigorous production schedules. Recent incidents include the 2015 explosion in the port city of Tianjin that killed 173 people. More recently, another chemical explosion killed 78 in eastern China in 2019.

The June 12 incident was followed by a gas pipe explosion at a market in Hubei province on June 13. The blast killed 25 people and injured more than 100, prompting President Xi Jinping to order the country’s central government to take over rescue operations and investigations into the two incidents.
The decision was announced on June 14 by the State Council’s Work Safety Committee and the Ministry of Emergency Management which had both decided to take control of several recent safety incident across the country. According to the China News Service, the decision was taken due to the incidents revealing problems among some local governments and departments in relation to their “thinking and inspections”.

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